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Information Technology Services

ITS Behind the Scenes: Commencement Week with MTS

06/02/10

The sun was shining over Alumni Stadium on May 24 as 3,521 graduate and undergraduate students and their families took part in Boston College’s 134th Commencement ceremony.

The main ceremony was really just one of many. Including Degree Ceremonies, the Law School Commencement, and Baccalaureate Mass, over 44 events related to Commencement were held.

And Media Technology Services (MTS) had a hand in all of them.

Media Technology Services provided all of the audio, video, and multi-media support for every event during the week of Commencement.  Additionally, MTS staff was responsible for much of the design and logistics for the new stage that was used at this year’s ceremony.

The MTS audio department was responsible for the sound systems at all 44 events, as well as the coordination of outside audio production companies and equipment that assist on Commencement weekend.

The MTS video department was responsible for producing the video of the Baccalaureate Mass and the Main Ceremony.  This includes:

  • providing closed-captioning services on the video display boards in Alumni Stadium
  • overseeing the webcast of the Main Ceremony
  • arranging for the ceremony to be aired on the Newton cable TV system
  • providing a simulcast for overflow for the School of Nursing Degree Ceremony
  • televising the College of Arts and Sciences ceremony to the video display boards in Alumni Stadium
  • broadcasting the Main Ceremony to numerous sites on campus in the event of rain. 

The MTS classroom support team was responsible for any video and computer projection needs requested for the many events that occur during the week.  The graphics and photography department created various print materials and signage for Commencement, as well as photographing many events.

MTS’ staff of 15 people contributed to the planning and execution of the many services the group provided.  MTS has approximately 10 undergraduate students to help, and hired over 30 contractors to assist with both audio and video services for Commencement weekend.

Initial planning of Commencement begins in January of each year.  On Commencement day, a total of 55 people work on site from 6 a.m. until 4 p.m., adding up to 550 staffing hours.  MTS Director David Corkum estimates a total of about 1,500 hours are put in supporting the events.

Besides people, a lot of equipment was needed to support these events, including:

  • 120 Speakers
  • 84 Microphones
  • 9500 feet of Audio Cable (1.8 Miles)
  • 78 Amplifiers
  • 1100 Amps of Power
  • 250 feet of Cat5e Cable
  • 1 Diesel Generator
  • 1200 feet of Electrical Feeder Cable
  • 10 Audio Consoles

So while the speakers inspired on the stage, the grads cheered from their chairs, and the parents smiled from the stands, MTS worked behind the scenes so everyone could enjoy their final day at BC.